PROJECTED INCREASE IN FLORIDA’S POPULATION OVER THE PAST YEAR, WITH AN AVERAGE OF 500 NEW RESIDENTS PER DAY. THE 2012 CENSUS ESTIMATE OF FLORIDA POPULATION WAS 19.3 MILLION. AT LEAST 3.5 MILLION
OF THOSE COUNTED LACKED HEALTH INSURANCE.
AMOUNT OF GRANT REJECTED BY FLORIDA IN 2011 FOR INCREASED SCRUTINY OF HEALTH INSURANCE RATES FOR THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT EXCHANGE IMPLEMENTATION
ESTIMATED (AND HIGHLY DISPUTED) INCREASE IN COST FOR INDIVIDUAL HEALTH INSURANCE PLANS IN FLORIDA UNDER THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT DUE TO THE DEFERRAL OF NEGOTIATING POWER BY GOV. RICK SCOTT AND THE FLORIDA LEGISLATURE
“THE ACTIONS TAKEN BY GOV. SCOTT AND THE LEGISLATURE HAVE MADE CONSUMERS VULNERABLE TO THE WILL OF INSURANCE COMPANIES, AND IT IS TIME FOR THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO STEP IN.”
– LETTER TO U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SENT BY THE FLORIDA DELEGATION OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
Sources: flgov.com, teddeutch.house.gov, Miami Herald
STATE OF SHOCK
Because playing a game of governmental chicken in the middle of a bold-headlined shitstorm appears to be the new coping mechanism for Republicans in Florida, it’s not surprising that we are receiving daily email boasts about Florida’s astounding economic recovery from
the governor’s office, even while the sky is falling.
Gov. Rick Scott’s seemingly bottomless pit of failures should at least be inducing some humility in him by now. But it’s not. He’s lost a lieutenant governor, an education commissioner and a leader of the Department of Children and Families to scandal in the past few months. A member of Scott’s 2011 transition team, now a mayor in South Florida, was just cuffed by the FBI last week for being an extortionist. Under Scott’s tutelage, the state’s commerce secretary just got his second $70,000 bonus this year for attracting jobs to the state that aren’t really here yet.
Now Scott is holding the prescription pen again. Gone is the bizarro olive branch of Medicaid expansion that choked the governor up as this year’s legislative session began. In its place: a quizzical and cruel braggadocio that doesn’t even make sense by Scott’s sterile standards.
Last week, Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater put another nail into the Affordable Care Act coffin, signing off on a disclosure form that could potentially mislead Florida residents about rates associated with new insurance plans sold on the health-insurance exchange market. Since late last month when the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation suggested that rates would soar under the ACA, probably up to 30 or 40 percent above current individual insurance rates, the administration has been running with that theme, ostensibly hoping that it will make people mad at Obamacare. Stupid gub’mint!
What the administration isn’t saying – not even on the disclosure forms, signed by the attorney general – is why the rates could rise if they DO rise at all. There are two answers for that, and both of them involve the governor.
First of all, after Obamacare became law in 2010, then-Gov. Charlie Crist accepted a $1 million grant to assist in the implementation and regulation of the required insurance exchange. In 2011, after Scott’s inauguration, that money was immediately declined by his administration, along with untold other millions that could have put us in a better position.
Then, during this year’s legislative session, your banana Republicans of the Legislature passed Senate Bill 1842, which effectively saw the state throwing its hands up at the whole notion of the ACA, telling the federal government, basically, to fuck off and handle the whole transition without Florida’s input. The implications of that move include the fact that neither Florida’s government nor the federal government will be able to manage insurance rates when the ACA markets open in October. If we were a smart state (like Maryland, for example), we would have been able to negotiate and actually see a decrease in health insurance premiums. Democrats were hoodwinked into thinking that they could trust the feds to set the rates more than their conservative peers. Republicans, meanwhile, were exploiting and obfuscating with both beady eyes on some electoral prize, as they do. And now we’re in a mess – an intentionally “uncertain transition period,” as the governor wrote when he signed the Senate bill in May.
Hey, but guess what? The state’s growing! Things are looking up! Just don’t get sick.